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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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story, we can hardly turn this into an argument for
ecclesiastical predominance in entirely different stages
in the history of human and social development. Furthey-
more, in the form in which we are now considering
the case, it is difficult to see how it can be used as an
argument for one particular creed as against another.

It is possible to produce a form of history which gives
the Church the credit for all the good that is done, but,
when  wrong   decisions   have   been  taken—however
'disastrous for a generation—attributes these merely t9
the defects of the human agencies, so that" the Church "
is always right, whatever men may do.   On this view,
every ecclesiastical decision ever taken about mundane
affairs might be wrong—might even be" recognised to
be wrong—and yet " the Church " itself never come
within the range of criticism.    Such a form of argument
wouldrhave its dangers if in various respects and in the
affairs of the world it were difficult for people to hold fast
to the distinction between " the Church " and its human
agencies.   Ecclesiastical systems, in the form in which
they confront the historian., have their aspect as very tangi-
ble, astonishingly human, systems. An optical illusion
concerning them would serve the purposes of real
live men who might be desiring an illegitimate form
of power.

We are saved from some of the optical illusions
if we say that Christianity itself is always right and
it is just the Christians who, because they are only
human, tend to go wrong in history* Yet an hostile
observer might argue that an exclusive religion can even
produce terrible evils in the world unless accompanied